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Local News

Despite ALS, former Kankakee firefighter impacted others

Kankakee firefighter Derek Hogg of Channahon continued to work for a year and a half after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in May 2013.
Kankakee firefighter Derek Hogg of Channahon continued to work for a year and a half after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in May 2013.

CHANNAHON – Kankakee firefighter Derek Hogg of Channahon continued to work for a year and a half after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in May 2013.

Holly Hogg, Derek’s wife, said in an earlier Herald-News story that Derek made the decision to step back from firefighting when his arm gave out during training.

“If you can’t run into a building to pick someone up, it’s probably not a good idea to keep in that line of work,” Holly said.

Derek may have retired from firefighting, but he didn’t retire from helping others. His obituary on the Baskerville Funeral Home website said Derek raised awareness and impacted the ALS community through his annual participation (through 2017) in the Les Turner Strike Out ALS 5K and Walk Run and Roll.

A celebration of Derek’s life will be 8 p.m. Tuesday at Baskerville Funeral Home, 700 E. Kahler Road in Wilmington.

His obituary on the funeral home’s website said that after Derek attended Joliet Junior College, he went on to Chief Shabbona Fire Training Academy and the paramedic program at St. Mary’s Hospital Emergency Medical Services in Kankakee.

While at the academy, Derek worked at Troy Fire Protection District. Later he worked for the Kankakee City Fire Department and the Wilmington Fire Protection District, the obituary also said.

Derek married Holly Kilgore on March 5, 2011. They are the parents of Paxton, 5, Hayden, 3, and Brinlee, 1. He belonged to Channahon United Methodist Church and loved kayaking, riding his motorcycle, Halloween and Christmas.

On Dec. 11, Derek announced on his Facebook page his decision to remove himself from life support. He was intubated Oct. 29 after a cold turned into pneumonia and septic shock. In that post, Derek said he was leaving the world a better place because of his children.

By the time Derek was hospitalized, he had a feeding tube and communicated with eye-controlled assistive technology. The former Shorewood resident died Dec. 15. He was 34.

In an earlier Herald-News story, Holly reflected on advice she received shortly after Derek’s diagnosis.

“They told us to take vacations,” Holly said. “Now I understand.”

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